An Earth Day Tribute

They say that whatever it is you want to become, you should start by practicing it often–daily, if possible. If you want to be a surfer, surf. If you want to be an artist, create art. If you want to be an astronaut, reach for the stars. So… If I want to be a writer, I must write. Often. Whether what I have to say is of any interest to anyone, or not. As long as it is real and true to who I am. As a writer, I must consider my audience, too.

Today is Earth Day. If this day has any importance to you, then you have probably done something to recognize its importance, or to celebrate this wonderful rotating and revolving orb on which we live. Perhaps, you have set goals for doing more to save the planet. Or maybe, you have gone out and bought an electric car to reduce emissions and save our precious air. Whatever you do, big or small, I commend your enthusiasm and your efforts.

For my part, I decided to write about the Palo Verde tree. In my humble opinion, the Palo Verde tree is magnificent in its uniqueness. I absolutely love its beautiful green bark and glorious canopy of blossoms. Do you know why its bark is green? Two-thirds of its chlorophyll is in its bark, and only one-third is in its leaves! Did you know that their seeds and blossoms are edible? Did you know they can live up to 100 years, and some are as old as 400? Did you know they are the primary nurse plants for baby saguaro cactus, providing shade and shelter from the hot summer sun? Did you know that the pollen of a Palo Verde tree is sticky and heavy, making it more difficult for this pollen to travel far in the wind? I just learned all this about my favorite tree for Earth Day.

And here is an original poem about the Palo Verde, in honor of April being National Poetry Month. Hope you enjoy!

Palo Verde, green stick of the desert–
Thick, amber syrup oozes from your hearty trunk
And twisted, gnarly branches embrace you fervently.
It is Spring! Season of renewal, rebirth…
Rejoice! Reach those long, arthritic fingers
In praise to the glorious Sun,
As brilliant-yellow, sapphiric blossoms
Adorn your massive crown in majestic magnificence.
Green goddess of arid Sonoran climes,
We welcome you–hope-filled and awe-inspiring.

Hello, Again, Hello

It has been two years since I last posted to this blog. So much has happened, but I won’t go into all that right now. Suffice it to say, I feel like I am beginning a Neil Diamond song, as I make this return to writing on my blog. “Hello, again, hello. Just writing to say, Hello.”
I planned to begin writing in January, starting out with new goals for the new year, but it still took me almost four months to gather up the courage and the determination to actually write something. Guilt, fear, hesitation, inadequacy, unimportance… so many negative thoughts kept me away.
When I began my blog, I was inspired by another blogger and fellow genealogist–Michael Lacopo. Today, Matthew McConaughey is my inspiration.
I was in Walmart when I saw his new book, GREENLIGHTS. I read his words on the inside flap and was instantly hooked. On page 2, he wondered, like I am wondering right now, who would care whether I write or not. I am sure all of Matthew’s fans will be reading his book, though. After all, he’s MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY!
For me, though, maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is… I enjoy writing–poetry, prose, family history articles, lesson plans, Power Point presentations, whatever. Do I have anything to say that is worth reading, worth learning, worth sharing? I don’t know. I hope so. I guess time will tell.

My Nancy Drew Epiphany

I believe I had a true epiphany yesterday–an awareness of self. (So glad we can still get these, no matter how old we get!)

Could it be that my love of family history research is rooted in my childhood’s memory of and love for Nancy Drew books… and the mysteries one can solve through proper sleuthing? I believe it is true!

Beginning at about 3rd grade, I believe, a group of girlfriends and I formed a sort of neighborhood Nancy Drew Book Club. We would each buy a different book in the series, pass them around until everyone had read them all, then repeat. Not only was our hunger to read Nancy Drew books sated, but it was done at little individual expense. We couldn’t wait to get our eyes on the next suspenseful tale!

Nancy was an ingenious teenage detective. Her powers of deduction and logic seemed masterful to this 8-year-old girl. I would imagine myself in her place as I read through each mysterious adventure and process of logical reasoning in order to solve whatever crime was at the root of the book’s plot. I wanted to learn those skills, to be as clever and bold and strong-minded as Nancy Drew. [Mathematics, the field I studied in college, is also about logic, reasoning, analysis, and problem solving. Curiouser and curiouser.]

My father seemed to understand my interest in solving mysteries. When I was young, he would often give me puzzles to solve–riddles, mind puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, all kinds. Again, the emphasis was on solving a problem from clues and piecing together evidence to get to the underlying “truth.”

Logic. Reasoning. Analysis. Evidence. Conclusions. Solutions. Truth. Aren’t these all elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard?

I understand now, for the first time, how Nancy Drew and my father developed my capacity for thinking logically. I owe them my deepest gratitude for laying the mental foundation for both of my adult careers–a teacher of mathematics (among other things) for 37 years, and now a Professional Genealogist.

Thank you, Nancy! Thank you, Dad!


By all indications I have a serious case of senioritis. With just two more courses to complete by December 16 for NIGS (National Institute of Genealogical Studies) in order to receive my certificates in German Research, American Research, and Professional Learning, I am feeling like a high school senior. Lack of motivation. Easily distracted. Procrastinating like crazy. Falling asleep while doing assignments. Watching the clock for the end of my study time. Watching my phone and hoping someone will call. Playing puzzles on my iPad longer than I should.

I started this journey during the fall of 2015 and completed 62 online course in less than three years, while also completing ProGen, GenFed 2017, several institutes, and taking care of family. Not bad for a retired school teacher in her 60s! But, I can’t stop now…

Time to let another kind of Senior-itis kick in. What’s that, you say? It has to do with taking advantage of all the benefits that come with acquiring the status of being a “Senior Citizen.” Better coping skills learned from years of experiences. Time and opportunity to pursue a dream.  Emotional and intellectual maturity. Pride in all that I have accomplished already. Willful determination to complete what I began, because I know I can!

Time to finish those last two courses! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel… Looks like a celebration lies ahead of me!